TV Binge: House of Lies [Season 4, 2015]

I’m finally writing up this TV Binge! Actually, this was way before I even saw the Season 1 of Zoo! You can see that post HERE!

I saw the Season 4 of House of Lies possibly about almost two months ago. However, I still remember what I want to talk about. A quick recap on the series: Season 1 was fantastic, Season 2 was charming enough, Season 3 lost a bit of steam but end kind of strong, and now we’re at Season 4. At this point, it can go both ways, right?

Let’s check it out!

House of Lies [Season 4, 2015]

house of lies s4

Creator: Matthew Carnahan

Cast: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson, Donis Leonard Jr., Glynn Turman, Dawn Olivieri, Valorie Curry, Demetri Martin

Season 4 starts a few months after what happens in Season 3. Here is the spoilers so if you haven’t seen previous seasons and plan to watch this, don’t read it.

Marty Kaan is not out of jail and with his old team, they have to go for the smallest cases to try to rebuild Kaan & Associates after Jeannie’s rushed decisions caused him to go to jail and plummeted the image of the company. Jeannie is now pregnant with the hidden fact that it is Marty’s baby (but it isn’t hidden for long). The office has to share space with some digital company that has a skateboarding ramp and these cool kids which lead by Kelsey, end up teaming up with Clyde and Doug and starting this weird relationship. On top of that, Roscoe has gone off the rails after Marty went to jail. Finally, while in jail, Marty conjures up a plan to connect with a rich technological tycoon in order to do business for him when they both get out.

House of Lies S4

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Season 4. This was by far the one that was far from being a binge. I might have watched one episode or two a day and in multiple sittings. Point is, the story has kind of lost its focus. It still has some witty moments and the characters we’ve grown to know is still around and doing their thing but its a little frustrating to watch also. Especially when its watching Marty in his stupidity when dealing with Jeannie. I guess it makes sense however, it feels like everything is so awkward now. There lacks a flow that used to make the series work. The main issue is not only that the logic of decisions isn’t there but what bothers me more was Roscoe who used to be a good character, now is just an emo teen dealing with stuff that seems to be way over what he should be doing and really not seeing it. His character goes through immense change. I can see how his father going to jail would cause that but him flipping out doesn’t seem to make the situation better and goes against the character we’ve seen in the past three seasons. That is where we can say, House of Lies in this season was all about change.

House of Lies Season 4

In this season, the side characters pose a much more fun time. The best is the awkward situation between Clyde, Doug and Kelsey. Doug’s coping mechanism of being the guy that seems to be dispensable and his insecurities turns him into a really crappy person with just horrible mindsets. Except he can’t really live up to what he does sometimes and turns right back to who he was. That creates humor for sure. It is however nice for once to see that Clyde’s character is shining through because while he likes to sleep around, there’s a whole new level of learning about him in this season that should have been done much earlier. That was possibly the best parts in all its awkwardness. Kelsey is a good character.

House of Lies

To be honest, the whole business aspect of things seemed to be the more interesting turn of events. The desperate situations that occurred and the retaliations and everything in between all worked for the better as it neared the season finale. I have a soft spot for Kristen Bell so I stand up for her character Jeannie a lot. It also comes to the point that she was also a strong point in this. A single mom pregnant and being kicked out of a company she worked hard for also because of things that she regrets doing a lot and still putting up a strong face while trying to figure out her future all lumped together. When her breaking point hits, just don’t mess with her.

Overall, House of Lies Season 4 was a tad lackluster. It seemed to lose a bit of its way however keeping the tone around in forms of sarcastic humor of sorts. There are some decent new characters, some funny and awkward moments but yet, nothing enough to feel like it was binge-worthy. It gets better and better as the dramatic things seem to sort themselves out. It begs to ask how they will wrap up everything in the final season.

Netflix doesn’t have it yet so I’ll be checking it out and reporting back when it shows up.

Are you a fan of House of Lies?

Netflix A-Z: The Good Doctor (2011)

Have any of you wondered where Orlando Bloom went? Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean and then spotted in some romantic comedies then, he has kind of vanished. Apparently, he was in this drama thriller back in 2011 called The Good Doctor. Its kind of in the indie category on Netflix but then not really either. With $6Mil budget, it hardly is, I’d imagine. However, I didn’t know that before starting this up and with the heart of wanting the next movie to be a thriller, I chose The Good Doctor, not exactly sure whether the premise would interest me.

Let’s check it out!

The Good Doctor (2011)

The Good Doctor

Director: Lance Daly

Cast: Orlando Bloom, Riley Keough, Taraji P. Henson, Rob Morrow, Michael Pena

A young doctor goes to unconscionable extremes in order to remain in the service of a female patient with a kidney disorder.-IMDB 

Regrets. I’m going through regrets. The Good Doctor took me three separate sittings to go through. I guess I can see the merit in the movie but man, the execution and the pacing was like watching paint dry. I think it is my problem but at the same time, I do like a lot of slow-paced movies. In fact, some of my favorites, not guilty pleasures, are actually rather slow-paced movies. The Good Doctor was just not for me. There was a lot of quiet staring on Orlando Bloom’s character’s part. Plus, the ending of more than obvious what was going to happen eventually even if the finale was probably the best part because it gives the audience something to think about. There’s a message here about how selfish intentions can be destructive and dangerous but it never presents itself in an intriguing way.

The Good Doctor

My previous statement about Orlando Bloom has nothing to do with his range of acting. It really just goes to the point that the character was probably designed to be more quiet and reserved. The personality of Dr. Martin Blake was portrayed in a way that his actions and the way he interacted was awkward. There was something gravely and eerily wrong with him. He had issues interacting with others and when he meets this young female patient, she makes it seem natural. The scenes where they talk shows a level of two people with similarly awkward personalities in the things they talk about and ask randomly. Dr. Martin Blake’s character does develop as the lack of dialogue also helps us learn about him through his actions and takes a more suspenseful path. The fault may highly be that the movie isn’t paced well so his quiet personality drags on and near the finale seems to overstay its welcome.

The Good Doctor

 However, there are tangent characters that work well here. Rob Morrow plays as the presiding doctor over Dr. Blake. His character, Dr. Waylans is the person that Dr. Blake tries to impress. In many ways, the question is whether Dr. Waylans suspects the things that Dr. Blake is doing. His character observes a lot and sometimes causes a moment of tension as you wonder whether he knows more than he is showing. Another character that proves as an effective hurdle is Nurse Theresa played by Taraji P. Henson. She gives Dr. Blake a hard time for the most part. She questions him constantly and causes a small feud that runs throughout probably a good portion of the film on and off. While it doesn’t seem necessary to have those parts, the character was a welcome change.

The Good Doctor

Overall, there isn’t really much to say about The Good Doctor. It has a decent idea except the execution and the pacing is extremely lacking making it for a grating experience. Orlando Bloom does the best with what he can. Although his character is required to emote and has a lack of dialogue which has its challenges and he carries the emotions well enough. Riley Keough also carries a well performance although her character isn’t accentuated too much. The better characters here are the supporting one notably from Rob Morrow and Taraji P. Henson.

Have you seen The Good Doctor?

Next up is H selection! Any guesses? Hint: An Irish actress

Dreamhack Montreal 2016!

This past weekend was the first ever Dreamhack Montreal 2016 also the first Dreamhack Canada to take place, I think (I could be wrong). Despite it being a last minute unplanned event that I decided to attend and I didn’t really stay too long, it was an extremely fun evening to meet with developers and try out their games. Some of them are on Steam early access, some were kickstarted successfully and a work in progress and others are already in progress. There was games for mobile, consoles and PC. It reminded me that I need to get a new graphics card as soon as possible and upgrade my PC into something at least resembling a gaming station.

Let’s take a quick look at the Friday evening at Dreamhack Montreal 2016!!

DHMTL16

Lets take a walkthrough of what there was…

Dreamhack Montreal 16

Twitch LAN area for BYOC

Dreamhack Montreal 2016

Computer Hardware stuff

Dreamhack Montreal 16

On-stage Tournament: Super Smash Bros

Dreamhack Montreal 16

Starcraft 2 Tournament (also on Twitch Livestream)

Dreamhack Montreal 16

Retro Gaming

Finally, the meat of the visit was all about this area!

Dreamhack Montreal 16

Indie Game Zone

There was these games present:

  • Mages of Mystralia
  • Z’Isle
  • Epic Manager
  • Bootleg Systems
  • Children of  Zodiarcs
  • Feudal Feud
  • Bomb Conflict
  • Subaeria
  • The Black Watchmen
  • Cefore

In the zone, there was also an area to lie down to play some of the games present including the bonus of Ultimate Chicken Horse.

I had the chance to talk to the developers of Epic Manager, Children of Zodiarcs, Feudal Feud and The Black Watchmen. I also visited Bomb Conflict which us at Game Warp just did an interview with. If you missed that, you can check it out HERE. The calmer evening was a good choice since I managed to have a nice chat with a few of them and learn more about their games. The detailed Indie Game Zone coverage will be over at That Moment In soon. I’ll link it up here when it goes live.

Overall…Dreamhack Montreal was a great experience. I wasn’t there for long but hopefully if I get into the esports side of things I’ll be more involved. However, just having the chance to talk to indie developers was a lot of fun, especially trying out some of their games as well.

Dreamhack Montreal is aiming to be an annual event. I think I read that somewhere so hopefully it happens because I look forward to checking it out again.

Its a short post today!
I promise things will get back to normal. Its been a time management issue.
I’ve been trying to wrap up the featured game for Game Warp, Song of the Deep the last few days.
I promise I’m not lying. I’ve been streaming almost everything except this morning’s so you can watch that if you want to see it HERE.

Any gaming events going on near you?

Fantasia Festival: I Am Not A Serial Killer (Canadian Premiere 2016)

Next up in Fantasia International Film Festival is an absolute treat. I Am Not a Serial Killer is a little independent film. What does make it even more special is that it was hosted by  Christopher Lloyd. Are we even surprised at this point? The roster at the 20th annual Fantasia Festival has been incredible and the last comment from the audience during the Q&A wraps it up perfectly. When we think back of Christopher Lloyd’s career in over 200 movies, a lot of those roles have never been attempted again and he is irreplaceable.

Fantasia Festival

Christopher Lloyd deserved the standing ovation he got and the feeling in the theatre of hearing him talk about his career was enlightening. After so many roles, we can still hear how grateful he was for each role that he has taken on.

I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016)

I am not a serial killer

Director: Billy O’Brien

Cast: Christopher Lloyd, Max Records, Laura Fraser, Karl Geary

In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer whilst keeping his own inner demons at bay.-IMDB

I Am Not A Serial Killer is an adaptation from a series of novels by Dan Wells (one that I don’t know much about before).  However, it has a really intriguing premise. Our main character is John, played by Max Records. If that name rings a bell but you can’t pinpoint him, he was the little boy in Where the Wild Things Are. In many ways, I Am Not A Serial Killer is a character study. We learn about John (Max Records) and on the other side, we learn about his neighbor Mr. Crowley, played by Christopher Lloyd through his observations. At the same time, this movie is also an extremely slow movie. It takes its time to set up, execute and build everything it needs for us to connect with these characters. At all times, there is a sense of uneasy even under its bizarre humor. One of the most notable parts of the movie in the opening was the music: something like rock and alternative or whatnot. During different parts of the movie, it also cues in and then we mix it with a lot of silent moments.

I am not a serial killer

 I Am Not A Serial Killer has a small cast. In fact, the other players such as Laura Fraser who plays the mother and Karl Geary who plays the psychiatrist is there but never enough to take away from the main journey of John Cleaver played by Max Records. It is amazing to see that the young adult that Max Records has become and how his acting has matured as well. His performance in Where the Wild Things Are was quite enjoyable. In this one, it is a completely different beast. One that probably would be hard to imagine. In many ways, John Cleaver is like a normal teenager except right from the first scene, we already realize that his is fighting a battle against an obsession with death. It isn’t his death but rather one where he stops himself from the desire to kill. His psychiatrist early in the movie in one of the sessions says that he has the predictors of being a serial killer, something like a diagnosed sociopath or something along those lines. Can you even imagine what it is like to fight the thought of being a serial killer, trying every day to be a nice person and feeling like you have no feelings? In fact, Max Records does a great performance in showing the struggle. His performance doesn’t end there because he soon learns that his neighbor might be a serial killer and wholeheartedly sets out to stop him. Can you see the conflict in his character already? However serious this movie does become, it never forgets to put in these random humor areas. One of the best is when John Cleaver explains why he compliments and smiles to a bully at a party. It is funny and creepy all at the same time.

Christopher Lloyd

The neighbor Mr. Crowley is played by Christopher Lloyd. His character shows that people have different layers, whether its physically or mentally. On the outside, Mr Crowley is a silly man that is completely in love. He is the sweet grandfather that still does all the gestures. However, he holds a deep secret and we soon learn that he is a serial killer and causing a havoc in the small town that hasn’t seen such frequent killings ever. No one knows who he is except John but they also have a good relationship. Mr. Crowley’s character is learned through the eyes of John Cleaver. We see what he does and his personality and the conversations they have in different scenes. Just like Max Record’s character is conflicting, Mr. Crowley’s also is. In fact, perhaps there is some kind of parallel meant to be created.

I am not a serial killer

I Am Not A Serial Killer is a movie that will be interpreted differently to many. In fact, it is a slow paced movie. Some might not have the patience to see what happens. The ending itself is a shocking one. It turns the movie around. Although it never is talked about explicitly, as the audience, we get to see how both of these characters are quite similar but also opposite. We actually might catch the nuances of their characters even before they realize it in the movie. Especially as we watch John Cleaver’s character struggle, in many ways, we might ask ourselves why he cares so much to stop the killer, isn’t that feelings or is it to fulfill his obsession with death? The main question that will keep the audience intrigued is the clever pacing of never quite letting us in on the secret and revealing anyone’s intentions. We keeping doubting whether there is a danger.

I Am Not A Serial Killer is a serious movie injected with dark humor. It has great performances all around specifically with Max Records and Christopher Lloyd. The setting definitely emphasizes the isolation. It is for those ready to study and follow a character as it develops throughout the story and takes us for a dangerous adventure of following a killer, one that no one would suspect is any danger. This may be the hidden gem of 2016.

The Perfect Husband (2014)

Another random movie choice that was just released today on Bluray and DVD. It is interesting how these things fall in place. This one definitely did peak my interest since it is a thriller and you all know how much I love those.

Let’s check it out!

The Perfect Husband (2014)

the perfect husband

Director: Lucas Pavetto

Cast: Gabriella Wright, Bret Roberts, Carl Wharton, Tania Bambaci, Daniel Vivian

A married couple decide to spend a weekend in a remote cabin, but the romantic journey takes a turn for the worst, when a sneaking suspicion becomes pure madness.-IMDB

The Perfect Husband is one of those movies that rely a lot on setting up a situation. In fact, The Perfect Husband takes about two-thirds of the movie to set up  the whole set and still manage to twist it all around by the end of it. Except it is well-crafted that everything fits together. Except for one scene that I’m still debating about what it all meant. However, that shows a lot of attention to detail and just the thought put into realizing a film like this one. The Perfect Husband however might not be for everyone because it gives you lots and lots of build-up and more and more questions and it all seems like a harmless drama except for the few lingering and uneasy moments that is somewhat expected. It brings in a lot of suspicious glances and secrets and the like before that one moment where it all unleashes in the final third. The Perfect Husband takes patience but the reward is rather satisfying.

The Perfect Husband

Let us not get ahead of ourselves and give it a little breakdown. We’ve only gone through a rundown of the story and execution. Before we step into the characters and cast, there is one thing about the execution of the film that I question if it was the right thing to do: the pacing for the first two-thirds. What I mean is that, while I can understand the use of pacing and it making us connect and understand the characters a little more and a lot more to ponder. Would it have been more effective setting up the twist a little earlier? Give it a little more engagement before just turning it all around. Of course, that isn’t to say that the execution now has any particular issues because the pay-off is quite worth it.

The Perfect Husband features a small cast. Its main leads take up most of the screen time with a few moments of the ranger played by Carl Wharton and a gypsy played by Daniel Vivian.Our main characters are husband and wife played by Bret Roberts and Gabriella Wright respectively. While both their roles takes a while to warm up to, they really create a depth for both the characters. In the start, without knowing much about what happened to the couple, its hard to understand why the husband is all full of surprises and the wife is really hard to deal with. As it slowly unveils to her losing her child, it also shows from the start that the two have secrets which makes us also question why this is a secret if they were married in the first place. At times, the dialogue made it feel like they had just met. Whether that is fully answered in the end, is still a question that perhaps is left for the individual viewer to each draw their own conclusion. For myself, it is half and half. While I can vaguely see the reason, it does seem far-fetched and less deliberate than some parts of the dialogue being a weaker part of the script.

The Perfect Husband

Overall, The Perfect Husband is not perfect. There are flaws in dialogue and even the pacing could be done a little better. Although the first act lacks a little momentum, the second act does a good job of setting up questions and the stage for the full turn of events in the third (and final) act that really causes us to hold our breath until completely knocking us off our feet with the finale. The Perfect Husband is not perfect but creates enough surprises that for the patient audience, it is worth a watch.

Netflix A-Z: The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

Next up on the Netflix A-Z after a little break is a Netflix Original called The Fundamentals of Caring released this year. Netflix exclusives have been quite good. More referring to TV series than movies since this is the first one I’ve seen, but the cast is cool. I like all three of the leads. Plus, Netflix A-Z is all about digging up some cool movies in the crazy variety of choices available. Fantasia Festival is going through a little gap of screenings so I’m taking the opportunity to catch up on this segment.

Let’s check it out!

The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

The Fundamentals of Caring

Director: Rob Burnett

Cast: Craig Roberts, Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Ehle, Megan Ferguson

A man suffering an incredible amount of loss enrolls in a class about care-giving that changes his perspective on life.-IMDB

The Fundamentals of Caring is odd. Its not exactly a bad movie but at some moments, it seems to take a rather predictable route for a movie that could have a bigger impact on our connection to the characters or to the situation itself. Perhaps that is the real problem: connecting with the characters. The premise it takes its a good one. Its one that as a drama or comedy or whatnot, it can take us on a fun and inspiring journey about a man who is a writer turned caregiver going through a divorce after losing a son in some way that is slowly revealed to us. Its about a teenage boy raised by a single mother whose father left when he was diagnosed and has never seen the world who gets the chance to finally see all the lame landmarks he has penciled in. And on the road, they meet up with a young girl who also is going by herself to Denver because she believes there’s more there while we also know that she is having issues with her father. Notice the connection of fatherhood going on (along with pain and loss).

the fundamentals of caring

Lets take a look at the characters. All of them do a decent job. Craig Roberts, plays Trevor, our main character who is a young adult suffering from muscular dystrophy since he was three. He carries a compelling role and in many ways does the best job out of the three main characters here. Maybe its because he has a disability and that this is his first trip and we start seeing a lot of his strength and braveness questioned and conquered. In the end, he is still a joker despite his situation. He pulls the most ridiculous jokes like faking choking and all that. But he also is interesting because his characters changes in moods quite a bit and in the end, he manages to show us that its not disabilities that make him different. In fact, seeing the world and encountering new things and having dreams come true even if its just seeing the World’s Deepest Pit, makes him a very real person. It reminds us that its the simple things. Just like the best moment and character defining moment is when he is asked what he would do if he could stand suddenly and he answers: to pee standing up.

One of the best moments are between Trevor and his caregiver Ben Benjamin, who is played by Paul Rudd. I can’t say that I connected with the character of Ben a lot. It is done fairly well that there is definitely something that is holding him down and it has to do with his son’s death but only get what happens afterwards and in between some hints of what happen. It also makes us question why he became a caregiver and it is an issue that is asked, which is a good one because this is where we also get to question his character and whether the deeds he does for Trevor is for himself or for Trevor’s benefit. The relationship between the two is the highlight of the film.

The Fundamentals of Caring

 Another thing The Fundamentals of Caring truly emphasizes is that Trevor is in control of his future despite his muscular distrophy. No one will judge him quite as much as himself if he lets it bring him down. Its what makes his first encounter with meeting with Selena Gomez’s character Dot, a somewhat run away hitchhiking young adult, seem fun. He is awkward and nervous like other boys seeing a girl they crush on but eventually finds the courage to just be himself. Except we can’t ignore Dot. While I feel like her performance is a little weaker and its also because she doesn’t have as much screen time but she brings a different energy on screen and perhaps a different humor. That can also be said for their next final pick-up off the side of the road as they pick up Megan Ferguson’s character, Peaches who is a simple-minded distressed mom-to-be.

The Fundamentals of Caring

However, it is hard to pinpoint what didn’t seem to go down so well. Maybe its that it still felt a little awkward but it seemed to want to have that teenage angst to it especially because the character Trevor has really only lived in his comfort zone. Maybe its that some of the relationships seemed rushed or not as able to connect to. It seems hard to think about the flaws and its empty when I can’t even pinpoint it but while its not a perfect film, the heart of The Fundamentals of Caring is there. It sends some good messages that perhaps may be wrapped up in a rather predictable storyline but it does work for the most part. Our characters are engaging and are different in their own issues that they deal with. They each teach us something different. In the end, its a rather heartwarming experience. You know what this is good for? A rainy day.

Have you seen The Fundamentals of Caring? What did you think?

G Selection is a drama thriller with Orlando Bloom. Any guesses?

Gremlins Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2016

Check out my contributing post to Drew’s Movie Reviews for his annual Christmas in July Blogathon! This time, I review the 80s classic, Gremlins, one that I haven’t revisited in forever and I’ve been looking forward to for a while!

A huge THANKS to Drew for putting this blogathon together! 🙂

Drew's Movie Reviews

Closing out today’s portion of the Christmas in July blogathon is non other than my Ultimate 80s Blogathon co-host: Kim from Tranquil Dreams.  Kim covers a wide arrange of topics on her site, from movies, to TV, to unboxings, to game reviews. She even co-hosts several podcasts over at That Moment In.  She kind of does it all. Go check her site out because whatever your interests may be, chances are she covers it.  Today, she stops by to offer her review of the 80 classic, Gremlins.


Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins DVD poster

Director: Joe Dante

Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Corey Feldman, Polly Holliday

“A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.”- IMDB

Gremlins is not your typical happy happy joy joy Christmas movie. However, it is still part of a lot of…

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Netflix A-Z: Everything Before Us (2015)

I’m going to go on record right now to say that I’ve been looking forward to watch this since I first saw the trailer last year. Of course, things got busy and it kept slipping my mind to get this online to watch earlier but things always work out and it landed on Netflix! I’m not going to lie that this was part of the reason why Indie films was the theme for this round of A-Z. If you haven’t seen any videos of Wong Fu Productions, its probably because you haven’t been following me for that long. Or you just don’t care for it or you just missed the post. Whichever the reason is, I’m a huge fan of their short videos. My fave still goes out to this one that I did a post in my early days of blogging HERE.

Everything Before Us (2015)

Everything Before Us

Director: Wesley Chan & Philip Wang

Cast: Aaron Yoo, Brittany Ishibashi, Brandon Soo Hoo, Victoria Park, Randall Park, Ki Hong Lee, Chris Riedell, Joanna Sotomura, Katie Savoy

The Department of Emotional Integrity (DEI) documents all relationship activity. A ‘relationship score’ is given to keep people accountable for their choices. The score is public for all to see, and affects various aspects of daily life. Two couples, teenagers and early 30s, face different but intersecting challenges in their relationships within the rules of the DEI.-IMDB

 Everything Before Us takes an original take on love and relationships. Can you imagine if a Department of Emotional Integrity actually existed? Love wouldn’t be exactly love because now, an individual may force themselves to be happy in a relationship or stay in one to raise their score in order to keep a job or sustain a certain level of lifestyle. Its almost like the privileges of being a part of a club or being rich. Our relationships would affect our score and that score can affect getting a better job. Everything in a relationship and seeing a person is not about the person but they turn into a number. You can’t take risks and you are judged because of a number. The feelings would be overly calculated and maybe even coerced. Its on this foundation that we should start this review. Everything Before Us sets up a feasible system for us to view the parallel stories of a young couple about to experience a long distance relationship and a broken up couple that is reuniting to sort our their issues and ends up finding something more perhaps.

Everything Before Us

Everything Before Us may be an incredibly small film. Wong Fu Productions is kind of a big deal if you know about them. In my circle of friends, only a few do talk about their work. For me, I’ve been following them for a while so its amazing to see them make a film. They are really great at building meaningful and fun short films/snippets/scenarios and I’ve always wondered how it would turn out as a full feature. Everything Before Us is one that makes me want to see what they have planned in the future.

Like I said, its a small independent film and probably a lot of you haven’t heard of it before. But it does have some familiar faces. One of the more popular would be Aaron Yoo who has been in a lot of movies I adore like Disturbia and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. He does a fine job here as Ben. We follow his character for a lot of the movie as he suffers from the low EI score and has to figure all this out. Right next to him in  popularity would be Ki Hong Lee who has a smaller role as a teacher’s assistant is known recently for The Maze Runner movies. This role might a little empty as it felt slightly as a buffer role to just keep the story rolling. Also known to me was Brandon Soo Hoo who plays Seth, the boyfriend in the younger couple and I know him from Ender’s Game and the Netflix series From Dusk Till Dawn. I personally think Brandon Soo Hoo has some acting chops that needs to be refined over time but definitely the potential is there. And its obvious that he does a fine job here.

Everything Before Us

However, no romantic drama is about just one angle. Its how the couple do together. Brandon Soo Hoo’s Seth was opposite of Victoria Park’s Haley. Their young love is cute and fun but also deteriorates with lack of communication and distance and different goals. They took a risk bravely and never thought they would see their love end when they registered naively. However, they also demonstrate the true essence of how relationships should be. Its a chance and a risk. Its genuine and honest and its takes hard work to maintain. All of this is shown extremely well through the script and the characters themselves.

On the other hand, crossing their paths is the other couple who once used to be like them but not anymore and have moved on, Aaron Yoo’s Ben and Brittany Ishibashi’s Sara. The standout of this story goes to them. The story seems to focus on them a lot and maybe because they are closer to my age that I can relate more to where they are after separating and both trying hard to rebuild their lives and follow their own dreams and then having to face their past again. They have learned to control their feelings better and make better choices for the sake of their future in terms of their EI score but it is also an inner struggle for them. The way their relationship is shown is beautiful and bittersweet and filled with all sorts of memorable moments that tugs at our heartstrings a little.

Everything Before Us

In the end, nothing quite wraps up Everything Before Us like this quote in one of the last bits:

…you guys – try to make love easier. But you’re missing the whole point. It’s not supposed to be – – easy. It’s supposed to test you. Break you down and hurt like hell. And who you choose to go through that with – that’s whats really important.” -Ben (Aaron Yoo), Everything Before Us

Overall, Everything Before Us is a pretty great romantic drama bringing up a very good message on relationships and loved delivered with some charming characters that are real enough for us to relate to, whether its the younger couple jumping optimistically into a relationship or the adult couple healing and moving on from a relationship that meant a lot to them. While there are certain roles that felt slightly meaningless, there are other roles that help push the story forward in this meaningful and heartfelt story about two people, further enforcing that there is no risk management in the world of love and relationships.

Have you seen Everything Before Us?
Can you guess what movie is for F selection. Hint: Netflix Original Movie

Netflix A-Z: Detention (2011)

I’m back into watching Netflix! I’m going to be honest that it is hard to focus on movies when there are so many updated TV series hanging about. As this goes up, I may or may not have finished or closed to finishing Orange is the New Black Season 4. I’ll hold off my thoughts on it until the TV Binge post coming up soon. As for the D selection, its Detention! If I remember correctly, my awesome cohost Melissa from The Creative Fox Den had mentioned it to me before airtime before. We all know she has fantastic taste in movies so I was honestly excited to watch it but just needed to find the right moment to do it.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

Detention (2011)

Detention 2011

Director (and co-writer): Joseph Kahn

Cast: Shanley Caswell, Josh Hutcherson, Aaron David Johnson, Spencer Locke, Dane Cook, Parker Bagley, Jonathan Park, Tiffany Boone

As a copycat killer named after movie villain Cinderhella stalks the student body at Grizzly Lake High School, a group of co-eds band together to survive while serving detention.-IMDB

I don’t even know where to start with Detention. Its a really quirky and fun movie for one. It plays on a lot of horror movies or maybe even other movies. It exaggerates the cliches. The characters are a little weird at times and there are some awkward scenes but it always seems to work in favor of the movie as a whole. Detention feels like watching a surprise. You kind of know where things are going but then you never quite know whats going to happen exactly.  The things they stay are modern but retro 90s in a way. There’s mascots, time travel, slasher, high school drama, romance and a lot of other stuff. Detention is kind of like Breakfast Club but with a slasher. I can seriously go on.

Detention

Thing is we have two main leads here: Shanley Caswell as Riley and Josh Hutcherson as Clapton. Riley is kind of the loser girl in school. She’s the person inside the mascot and she does silly things and just a nobody. Clapton is kind of a somebody since he’s a jock. He gets along with everyone and has a hot cheerleader girlfriend but then he’s targeted because of the ex of his girlfriend. Behind all this, Clapton and Riley are also neighbors and pretty good friends and well, Riley has a massive crush on him. At times, it feels like he likes her too but then with all that happens, it gets a little lost in the mix as we try to find out who the slasher is and their motives. The even better part is that the slasher copycat actually wasn’t too obvious. It adds to how its a fun watch. Not to mention Cinderhella is a pretty great villain.

Detention 2011

Overall, there isn’t really too much to say about Detention. Its a little gem that doesn’t seem to known to a lot of people. At least I haven’t heard people talking about it. The story is fun. I like films that mock the cliches or play on them. Josh Hutcherson and Shanley Caswell along with a ton of the cast are entertaining to watch. Its just so much fun! I kind of want to revisit it again!

Have you seen Detention?

Next indie Netflix A-Z is E! Can you guess which movie it is?
Hint: Its made by a production company that is pretty huge on YouTube. 

That Moment In Podcast: Reviews Maleficent (2014)

On this episode of That Moment In Podcast, we look at the 2014 Disney live and animated hybrid movie, Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie. Test your knowledge of how well you know Angelina Jolie movies before we ask each other a few questions on things that might have bothered us, look at the defining moment in Maleficent and other little fun moments that we highlight. Hope you enjoy!

Thanks for listening! 🙂